Monday, March 19, 2007

Exploitation of the Successful Entrepreneurs?

From today's WSJ, Syracuse Professor Arthur Brooks' op-ed "What's Wrong With Billionaires?":

"What people hunger for is not money per se, but success at creating value. Money just tends to come along for the ride.

As long as a fortune is earned (as opposed to stolen, squeezed from governments or otherwise extorted from citizens), pecuniary acquisitiveness is directly related to the comfort of others. Oracle's founder Larry Ellison has created tens of thousands of jobs, introduced technology that has benefited all parts of the economy and paid billions in taxes. When Mr. Ellison measures his success with money, he spills opportunity and economic abundance onto all of us, directly or indirectly."

One could even argue convincingly I think that the personal wealth of a Bill Gates ($50 billion) or a Larry Ellison ($16 billion) is actually significantly less than the overall value they have created for society. That is, Bill Gates has probably increased the overall well-being and social welfare of people around the world now, in the past, and in the future, by MORE than $50 billion, considering his scientific and business contributions, jobs created, productivity increases as a result of software, etc. In other words, we as a society are actually exploiting successful the entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison?

Here is the Forbes list of billionaires.


At 3/19/2007 12:43 PM, Anonymous Ed Kohler said...

It seems like an unnecessary redistribution of wealth to me. How much more wealth could Microsoft users have created if they weren't taxed so heavily on the software they need to run their businesses?

At 3/19/2007 5:39 PM, Anonymous Bob Wright said...

They probably would have used their Microsoft product to leverage their productivity and thereby create even more of this hypothetical wealth than they would have without the Microsoft product.


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